The Kroon Building — future home of the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies — will set a new standard for sustainable architecture when it breaks ground this winter.

Professor Stephen Kellert of the environmental school met with members of the Yale community at Sage Hall yesterday to present plans for the $40 million project. The project will bring 50,000 square feet of environmental sustainability to a site currently occupied by the Pierson-Sage Power Plant on Science Hill.

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Kellert, who recently won the “Outstanding Contributions to Research” award from the North American Association for Environmental Education, said the building will serve as an example for the community.

“We preach the gospel of sustainability, and we don’t practice it very well,” Kellert said. “This building teaches what it aspires to accomplish. … We hope we can catalyze the movement of Yale toward a more sustainable institution.”

Environment school professor Marian Chertow FES ’00 said she is enthusiastic about the way the Kroon building is paving the way for green building and energy conservation. The environment school is striving to be a leader in sustainable architecture both for the University, which has many large, inefficient buildings, and in the discipline more widely, Chertow said.

“We’re trying to get the university aware, and in our own field we’re trying to do some experimental things … [to push] the envelope of what hasn’t been done before,” she said.

The Kroon building plans meet the platinum rating for the Green Building Rating System of Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design. Kellert said Hopkins Architects, the London firm in charge of the project, designed the structure with strict environmental objectives in mind, especially climate neutrality, energy efficiency, renewable energy production and minimal pollution. The architecture will do much of the work in terms of lighting, heating and cooling, he said.

“It will provide a living learning opportunity,” said Julie Newman, director of the Office of Sustainability. “It lets us creatively tap into innovative technologies.”

Named for philanthropist Richard Kroon ’64, the building will provide office space for about 75 faculty and staff. It will also feature classrooms, a 175-seat auditorium, an environmental center and a cafe, among other facilities.

Kellert explained to his audience yesterday that there were difficulties in initially securing the site for project development.

“The University resisted tooth and nail decommissioning this power plant,” he said.

In addition, fundraising has not been as successful as planners hoped, as the project is still $10 million short of reaching its goal even after projected costs were cut down. But the University now supports the project, he said, and is working with the environmental school to make the vision a reality.

“Any building is only a shadow of its aspirations,” Kellert said. “You have these high ideals but … translated to brick and mortar it’s an entirely different thing.”

The Kroon Building will open in 2008.